To our Co-op members:
We are pleased to nominate these five candidates for the two open positions for the Board of Directors. They have provided this information to assist you in learning more about their backgrounds and their interest in serving on the Board; your ballot will include their official statements. We also urge you to view their video, also posted on the website, to make an informed choice.
Why would you like to serve on the Board of Directors of the Co-op? I want to serve on our Co-op’s Board to help grow our positive impact on our community, members, staff, as well as farmers and other producers. I believe our Co-op is a transformational engine in our community and has incredible unrealized potential to build and accomplish our Co-op community’s shared vision.
What would you hope to accomplish if elected to the Board? If elected we will build a bold vision for our community’s future with the Co-op in a central role based on your ideas, and we will execute these ideas to magnify our impact—whether that means new stores or other operations, innovative member engagement, greater product values and vendor support, and staff empowerment—all of which I have accomplished at other co-ops.
What skills and experience would you bring to the Board? I have served on co-op boards for a total of 14 years, leading those co-ops through opening second stores, dramatically increasing entry-level wages, empowering employees, increasing member engagement, magnifying support of local farmers, and other deeper engagement of our co-op values and community. Professionally, I am an employee of our Co-op and have managed at food and housing co-ops for 10 years, I teach other co-op professionals, and hold a Masters of Management: Co-operatives and Credit Unions degree.
Jeff has been a member and employee of our Co-op for three years and frequently finds himself (when not at the Co-op) elbow deep in a garden, on a bicycle, or hiking in the local wilderness.
He is a big believer in cooperatives, having worked managing and serving on the board of food and housing co-ops throughout his career. He has expanded access to good, clean food in four cities, built more affordable housing when managing housing co-ops in two cities, created more good jobs at each co-op, and built community wealth through co-operation and achieving greater success.
But the most important part about co-ops to Jeff is getting to know our neighbors and building bridges, relationships, and shared movements in a time of so much division. Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op was an inspiration for him years before becoming a member and joining the team as an employee, and serving on this Board is a meaningful opportunity to grow the Co-op’s service to and positive impact on our community.
Why would you like to serve on the Board of Directors of the Co-op? I love the Co-op! I’ve looked to the Co-op for trustworthy products and delicious, local, organic food for almost 20 years—and now I want to give back by serving on the Board.
What would you hope to accomplish if elected to the Board? I want everyone to feel great about shopping at the Co-op. To accomplish that, my focus will be on strengthening partnerships with local producers and increasing access for people who have historically faced discrimination or food insecurity.
What skills and experience would you bring to the Board? I have worked with a wide range of non-profit organizations, and I understand the distinction between governance and management. I will build consensus with Board members on policy issues and hold the GM responsible for achieving outcomes without getting involved in day-to-day operations.
Laura grew up in Grass Valley, a gold mining town in the foothills northeast of Sacramento. She disliked tomatoes until she was 13, when her mother planted a garden with little cherry and big zebra heirloom varieties. This summer she’s been going a little caprese-crazy, relying on the SNFC for a steady stream of fresh mozzarella and olive oil.
Laura studied public policy at Humboldt State University, where she learned about ecology, sustainable environmental practices, and the benefits of supporting local businesses. She gained experience in policy governance by serving on the board of directors for the California State Student Association.
Fueled by a passion for equity and social justice, Laura moved to Sacramento in 2001. She was attracted to the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op for the community-driven approach and unmatched local produce, becoming a member in 2003.
Laura is committed to increasing access to fresh food in Sacramento. She’s volunteered with the Sacramento Junior League to end food deserts by establishing and maintaining community gardens.
She built a career advocating to close the opportunity gap for students, empower women, and protect vulnerable youth. She has fought to keep tuition low at state colleges and increase funding for K-12 education.
Laura was appointed by the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors to serve on the Children’s Coalition, where she worked with leaders of human service agencies to protect Sacramento area youth. Most recently she volunteered for Sac Kids First, Yes on Measure G Campaign, which would have dedicated city funding to youth programs.
She founded LK Consulting in 2019 to support progressive clients with advocacy, non-profit management, strategic communication, and stakeholder engagement.
Laura lives off Broadway, near Tower Theater. You can find her on the patio of a local restaurant with friends, or walking her rescue dog, Montgomery in Midtown. Follow his adventures on Instagram at @MontgomeryAmericanBulldog.
Why would you like to serve on the Board of Directors of the Co-op? I’ve been active in volunteering within my community for many years now, and I would like to continue serving my community as a co-op Board member. Being appointed to the board of directors of two food banks over the years, my passion revolves around working with organizations that aim to remedy the issues of food insecurity, food/nutritional education, and food deserts.
What would you hope to accomplish if elected to the Board? My goal is to expand the Co-op’s food education program and outreach efforts to engage as many individuals and families as possible. In particular, focusing on low-income, Latino, and African-American individuals and households where it is well known that these communities experience high levels of diabetes, high blood pressure, and other serious health issues.
What skills and experience would you bring to the Board? I have over seven years of experience serving on the boards of local food banks. Additionally, serving on a variety of other boards and commissions, I possess extensive knowledge in food/nutritional education, insecurity, and services along with extensive experience in effectively carrying out the missions of a number of organizations at the board/commission level.
Originally from Riverside, California, Manny has made Sacramento his home since 2013. He has been a Co-op shopper since that time and a member for more than two years. His favorite Co-op item? Olive Bread from Acme Bread. “So good!,” he says.
Manny is active outdoors: kayaking at local lakes, road biking on the American River Trail, and is an outdoor/trail runner whenever possible.
Professionally, Manny has worked for the California Legislature since moving to Sacramento. He is the principal consultant for the State Senate’s Transportation Committee. In this position, he is responsible for analyzing legislation, drafting bill analysis, and developing policy recommendations for the committee Chair and legislative staff. His portfolio includes: Caltrans, High-Speed Rail Authority, public transit, regional transportation agencies, transportation finance, intercity and commuter rail, and project delivery methods.
Previously, Manny worked for the California Assembly on many of the same issues as a senior consultant.
Before moving to Sacramento, Manny was a Senior Government Relations Representative for the Orange County Transportation Authority. Specialty areas included the state budget, transportation finance, goods movement, railroads and fiscal analysis of policy initiatives.
Before that he served as an assistant to the Mayor of Riverside, California. In his post, he launched a successful neighborhood outreach plan, managed and executed special events, and managed the Mayor’s Night Out program.
Why would you like to serve on the Board of Directors of the Co-op? I think the Co-op is at a crossroads—that it needs to reconcile its democratic essence with its potential to be a major economic force for localism and sustainability in Sacramento. I’ve volunteered on boards for numerous organizations, and I’m interested in bringing my skills to this challenge.
What would you hope to accomplish if elected to the Board? I want to work to advance the Co-op through its democratic governance challenges, which I believe are a strength to advance the Co-op’s position as a retail outlet for local, organic suppliers. I also want to broaden the Co-op’s accessibility and relevance across communities in our area, including different ethnicities and income levels.
What skills and experience would you bring to the Board? I have a long career with extensive experience working with boards addressing real-life governance challenges, building consensus, and practical problem solving. I’ve exercised strong leadership on challenging and difficult issues, and I can bring that to the Co-op.
Alan has served with numerous boards and other collective decision-making bodies, including representing the State Controller on the California Public Employees System and as executive staff at the California Public Utilities Commission and the Board of Equalization.
As former legislative staff, Alan’s legislative accomplishments include the nations’ first comprehensive domestic partner law for same sex couples. As a member or staff for state boards and commissions, Alan has successfully tackled numerous high-level organizational challenges, including hiring diversity, government transparency, risk management, technology policy, regulatory oversight, tax administration, and public contracting.
He also has been active at the local and nonprofit levels, including as a member of the City of Sacramento Planning and Design Commission (including as chair), the 2009 Sacramento Charter Review Committee; Chair of the California Democratic Party Legislation Committee, Vice Chair of the Democratic Party of Sacramento County, Co-chair of the Board of SacLEGAL (LGBT Bar Association).
He has a strong background as a legislative and community advocate, most notably on behalf of the LGBT community and people affected by HIV/AIDS. In these activities, he has effectively battled discrimination and health disparities based on sexual orientation, gender, race, ethnicity, ability, and income level. He has worked collaboratively both organizing and advocating for various communities, including in intersectional spaces (addressing the overlap of gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation identities).
Why would you like to serve on the Board of Directors of the Co-op? I would like to be a part of the Board to build on the good work already done by the past Boards and to maintain and grow a sustainable, strong and successful Co-op for the communities in the Sacramento area. Being on the Co-op Board gives back to the community and builds on my expertise in financial services and leadership, to take on difficult situations in a professional and fair manner and to provide crisis management during the difficult financial times we are currently experiencing.
What would you hope to accomplish if elected to the Board? I hope to accomplish being a part of the Board that will support the new management of the Co-op, to provide strength to that management and the Co-op in offering strength to a cohesive Board and provide members another voice on the Board. I hope to gain further knowledge of the business of the Co-op and be one of the Board members who can be trusted to ‘do the work’, understand the issues and provide guidance to the management and members of the Co-op.
What skills and experience would you bring to the Board? My career has shown my leadership and management skills for almost fifty years. Besides bringing the knowledge that experience has afforded me, I also bring a common sense approach to leadership, problem solving and guidance. I am also a friendly and approachable person who can and will take on difficult issues and who listens to all with a strong desire to do what is best for the operations of the Co-op, its members and community.
Jan Owen is a senior advisor in the Manatt Financial Services group and is based in the Sacramento office.
Her practice includes a wide range of oversight work including accountancy, assets recovery, auditing, banking, benefits administration, budget preparation and financial reporting.
Prior to joining Manatt, Jan was the longstanding Commissioner of California’s Department of Business Oversight (from 2013 to 2019), the state’s financial services regulator. Prior to that, she served as commissioner of the California Department of Corporations and was honored to serve as first DBO commissioner when the Department was established in 2013. Before serving in these significant roles, Jan worked at a leading investment banking firm, one of the world’s leading consumer products companies, and at her own consulting firm.
On the personal side, she is a musician (voice and piano), has a 24-year-old adopted son who is a dental technician, and loves to travel. Her husband, Steve Suchil, is a retired public servant and lawyer who plays a variety of instruments in the popular Sacramento band “Remedy 7.”